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Russia is emerging as an essential diplomatic and security partner for the U.S. in Syria, despite the Obama administration's opposition to Moscow's support for President Bashar Assad. Russian-American cooperation on Syria now includes regular diplomatic, military and intelligence contacts. Administration officials see working with Russia as the best of a bad set of options. Putin this week seemed to take a public step toward the U.S. position that Assad must go eventually. In an interview with the German newspaper Bild released Tuesday, Putin hinted that he might grant Assad asylum. U.S. officials believe the monarch has sought a special relationship with Putin and hopes soon to coordinate military activities with Russia against Daesh. Already, there is a joint Jordanian-Russian military coordination center in Jordan; the Jordanians hope it could be the bridge to a cease-fire in the south between rebels and the Assad regime, and a coordinated assault on Daesh.
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